AM hosts, viewers react to backlash towards British TikTok influencer who bought first home mortgage-free at 21

A British influencer who bought her first home mortgage-free should be applauded, not castigated, for her milestone achievement, AM's hosts argued on Tuesday amid an ongoing torrent of hate towards the young woman online.   

Katylee Bailey, 21, managed to buy her first home outright due to her earnings as a content creator on the popular platform TikTok. In a video shared with her millions of followers, Bailey announced the milestone by popping a fake champagne bottle that blasted confetti, declaring: "Biggest achievement of my life. Here's to the next chapter."   

While many of Bailey's fans celebrated with her, others poured cold water on her success, with many accusing the 21-year-old of "gloating" or "bragging" about her wealth. A number of viewers also bemoaned the unfairness of influencers' incomes compared to those in more traditional 9am-to-5pm roles, or those who do lifesaving work as nurses or paramedics. Several even slammed Bailey for not having "a real job".   

"Paramedics save lives 12 hours a day and they still can't afford heating," one commented on Bailey's video, while another said: "It's so upsetting to see this."  

Addressing the criticism on Tuesday morning, AM host Melissa Chan-Green noted that while she can see why some people would be upset by Bailey's success, she shouldn't be the target of their ire.   

"If you're a paramedic and you're seeing someone who posts beauty pictures on TikTok and now they can afford a mortgage-free home - and you can't - I can understand you thinking, 'This is not fair'," Chan-Green said.    

"But it's not the TikToker's fault. It's the system's fault - that we don't pay people who save lives enough so they can buy a home."   

"Can't you just be happy for her? Why does it always have to be about who's the most hard done by?" co-host Ryan Bridge agreed, with newsreader Nicky Styris weighing in: "Rather than being bitter and twisted about it, use it as inspiration or motivation to either change your career or do something that maybe you'll get more reward for, if you're unhappy in your current situation."   

"I think everyone's maybe a little bit jealous of [influencers], because it seems easy - they spend a lot of time at home looking at their phone, and people are sending them free stuff," Bridge mused, while Styris added: "I respect them, if that's how they've managed to earn a living, good for them."   

Opening the conversation to their viewers, the hosts encouraged others to send in their opinions on the issue - and perhaps surprisingly, much of the feedback received was in favour of Bailey.   

"I'm in my early-to-mid-40s and I rent. I knew in my 30s that the chance of owning my own house was less than 20 percent, but people like the young lady who bought a house at 21 should be applauded as despite the job title, she has put in the hard mahi to achieve the goal she wanted - good on her," a viewer named James wrote in.   

"I absolutely think she should be celebrated... at the end of the day, she made it happen, she made her own money and invested it wisely. I'm 51 and I have a mortgage, but I don't feel bitter about that fact - I've made my choices. I know many people who earn decent money and don't own homes because they choose to spend their money differently. Congratulations and don't let others bring you down," a woman named Tracy wrote.   

A third noted that even the negative comments were adding to Bailey's engagement, "which is money towards the next house - win-win".   

"There's sometimes Tall Poppy Syndrome in New Zealand - but not among our AM viewer feedback this morning," Chan-Green concluded with a smile.   

Watch the video above.